I had a great experience last week that I just had to share, and seeing as to how tips and tonnes of useful information from the members of this site made my experience possible I figured I should do my best to pass this story on to you guys.
Into my second month of fly fishing now, and I am definitely seeing some progression in my skills. I still haven't caught any trout bigger then about a half pound, so I still have some work to do, but the numbers are definitely there, which is making the learning process so much more enjoyable.
Anyway, a buddy of mine recently took me out to a beautiful little spot I was completely unaware of for a very productive and enjoyable session of fly fishing. There were some nice pools along a stretch of this water way and some really nice sized trout holding in said pools. I decided I would work this section for a couple of days straight so that I could process what the fish were doing and hopefully get hooked into something of size. Here is a pic of a nice pool section below some moving water that I focused in on during my 3 day sessions.
There was some very nice sized trout along the back of the pool towards the log, and although the pic doesn't show it clearly there is a collection of foam just on the far side of the log that some of the lunkers were rising into gobbling up insects. I started to obsess about getting my dry fly into said foam in the hope that one of these lunkers would choose my fly as a meal. The problem was casting accuracy. I seemed to either come up short of the foam or bomb my fly well over, which of course led to me getting hooked into quite a few logs and sticks that put up some nice fights, but no fish. Un-hooking from some of these objects definitely spooked the prey so I would have to move up stream for a while. As soon as the trout started to break the water I would creep back down in full stealth mode to again have a try at them.
At the last pass through this section on my first day I finally had a good accurate cast and my little Irresistible Adams fly swung right into the foam. All of a sudden a trout came up and tried to smash my fly, but in all the excitement I lifted up my rod too early and took the fly away from the fish before it had a chance to swallow it. I was completely disgusted with myself but at the same time I knew that the fish didn't taste the hook so if I could get the fly back to where it was I may have one final shot. Next cast out was even better then the first, I waited for the swing through the foam, and again the trout took the fly. This time I let the fish have it, and when fly and fish disappeared under the water I stripped in the line and successfully hooked the fish. (This method was one I had never tried, but after reading through the forums I noticed it was suggested for down stream hook ups)
Now because of where the fish was holding I had to try and bully him away from the big log and surrounding obstacles. I was able to pull him into the middle of the pool, but just as I had done so he came up out of the water and shook my fly loose right in front of my eyes. I couldn't describe to you the feelings that were going through my head. I was proud that I had presented the fly in such a way that the fish took it (twice) but obviously upset that I was unable to bring the targeted fish to hand. I lost sleep over this that night.
On my second day out there was zero top water action in this pool, and with the obstructions above and under the water in that area, and me still learning I thought it was best to avoid sending a sub-surface fly down into the mess only to get tangled and cause frustration. I instead focused on a nice set of rifles upstream where the rainbows were holding. I had no issue coaxing rainbows to take my dry flies all morning. Walking away from the water on that second day it bothered me that I still was skunked in that pool, even though the number of rainbows I pulled out upstream got into double digits.
Day 3 started out with promise. I got out early filled with anticipation and a good coffee buzz. When I arrived at the hole I was instantly excited to see fish breaking water all over this little pool. I got my fly out there as soon as I could. First cast was a little short of the foam, but managed to land a nice brook trout anyway. It was only about 7 inches, and not worth bragging about, but it was a good sign. After the commotion of the first catch I decided to wait a few minutes along the bank to let the pool settle. Once I seen the next break in the foam line I launched my fly back out and it landed perfectly upstream of the target area. I let it dead drift down into the foam and ever so slightly forced the fly to make it's swing. It started to swing dangerously close to the log when all of a sudden a fish exploded out of the water to take my fly. I again used the advice from members here and gave the fish a second to head back down with my fly before stripping the line to force the hook up. This time luck was on my side and I was able to again force the trout away from the logs and obstructions that would have potentially caused me to lose him. After four days on this water I finally landed a beautiful half pound brook trout. It definitely wasn't the biggest fish in the pool, but in one hook set I felt relief, redemption, and progress in my skills.
Now unfortunately for me I didn't have my camera close by, so the fish was released without me getting any sort of proof, so when I told my buddy he instantly called me out for it. Doesn't really matter though, as I now have peace of mind that I was able to land one from an area that I had problems with (and missed opportunities)
Sorry for the amount of words it took to get this story into a thread, and the lack of pictures to accompany this report. Just wanted to again thank everyone from this forum community, as your suggestions, tips, and information really helps a guy like me progress my skills and knowledge of this addiction called fly fishing.